Much simpler 'Virtual Breadboard'

Thread Starter

FabianPruitt

Joined Jun 18, 2022
2
Hi,
At 80 I should be gardening or keeping ferrets but I'm interested in basic electronics and wanted to encourage one of my great-grandsons (9yrs) to show an interest in the hobby so we can do something different besides play Call of Duty on his PS4. I'm finding it irritating always getting shot or blown up much to Ollie's amusement. I like to keep the boy happy, but I want to teach him something before I start forgetting what his name is.

I downloaded the Virtual Breadboard app on my desktop computer, but it's too complicated for a 9yr old and a lot of times for an 80yr old too. Is there a more simple version out there on the Internet that will let me explain in slowly easy steps what everything on the board is for and then push a button and get that big grin re-action that says 'Yep, I get it Grandpa' rather than 'It sucks' let's get back to the PS4?

I'm not clueless here, I know I've got to do my homework the night before and get the circuit up and running, but I'd rather forfeit my time to get the right result.

So is there any other Virtual Breadboard on the net other than the Windows app?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,304
Welcome to AAC! There are lots of us old farts around here. Take a look at Fritzing Not exactly my cup of tea but has a fair number of folks using it. Most of us here use some kind of schematic circuit editor and simulator but they have a pretty steep learning curve and not exactly for beginners.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
14,704
Welcome to AAC!
I'm not clueless here, I know I've got to do my homework the night before and get the circuit up and running, but I'd rather forfeit my time to get the right result.
Just get a solderless breadboard, an assortment of components, and use a 9V rechargeable battery so it won't have enough capacity to cause much damage. It can still destroy parts, but it's less likely to cause a fire.

Jameco sells this for $12.95
1655564367671.png
If you have time, you can buy the breadboard for around $3-4 on Ali Express and make your own jumper wires from #22 solid wire. Some people are neat freaks and want the wires cut to the exact length needed. I use about half a dozen different lengths. If they're a bit too long, that's fine by me.

These pre-made 15cm jumpers are almost always way too long:
1655565202163.png

Here's a breadboard with several test circuits on it:
breadboardExampleColorAdjusted.jpg
Note how the component leads are formed. I use one of these for axial components:
1655565842672.png
I used needle nose pliers for the LEDs.

Here's a "don't do this" example:
16483893.jpeg
To the creator's credit, she did clean it up some later.
1648547.jpeg

Fritzing is no longer free. Now that they're charging for it, I sure hope it works better than the free version.

Since you're just starting out, you should always make a schematic for a circuit before actually breadboarding. When I was younger, I'd do the design in my head and just start wiring components. That's fine if you finish in one sitting and it works. If you come back to it days/weeks later, you probably won't remember where you left off.

If you have a schematic for a breadboarded circuit that doesn't work, you're likely to get more help. I, and some others, don't like tracing breadboards to make schematics and/or look for wiring errors without one.
 
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k1ng 1337

Joined Sep 11, 2020
584
In addition to other recommendations here, I suggest an Arduino Uno and some small motors. Get him going on a microcontroller and you guys could have a remote control car or robot within a few months. I loved RC as a kid and still do! I think teaching kids becomes much more interesting when they can play with what they made.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,469
I don't think at 9yrs old he would be ready for micro's just yet, I would stress simple circuits using descrete components for quite a while yet in order to learn and obtain a good grounding in the basics
 

k1ng 1337

Joined Sep 11, 2020
584
I don't think at 9yrs old he would be ready for micro's just yet, I would stress simple circuits using descrete components for quite a while yet in order to learn and obtain a good grounding in the basics
You underestimate youngsters my friend. Computers are part of the educational system now. I was a PC nerd at a very young age and I assure you if he's winning at call of duty he can master a blink circuit.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,469
Yes, but this approach too early, may initiate an urge to follow modern technological trends without learning the nuts and bolts of electrical practice and theory.
I remember my early starts at ~8yrs, wiring up lighting circuits for the female members of the family that were gifted a Doll House.
This was before the transistor or the IC came popular !! o_O
 

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
724
Hi,
At 80 I should be gardening or keeping ferrets but I'm interested in basic electronics and wanted to encourage one of my great-grandsons (9yrs) to show an interest in the hobby so we can do something different besides play Call of Duty on his PS4. I'm finding it irritating always getting shot or blown up much to Ollie's amusement. I like to keep the boy happy, but I want to teach him something before I start forgetting what his name is.

I downloaded the Virtual Breadboard app on my desktop computer, but it's too complicated for a 9yr old and a lot of times for an 80yr old too. Is there a more simple version out there on the Internet that will let me explain in slowly easy steps what everything on the board is for and then push a button and get that big grin re-action that says 'Yep, I get it Grandpa' rather than 'It sucks' let's get back to the PS4?

I'm not clueless here, I know I've got to do my homework the night before and get the circuit up and running, but I'd rather forfeit my time to get the right result.

So is there any other Virtual Breadboard on the net other than the Windows app?
I agree with some of the others here, why not get a real breadboard and get away from the PC, from the keyboard? Set aside a brightly light desk area and get one of those kits that has breadboard, components, wires and so on.
 

Thread Starter

FabianPruitt

Joined Jun 18, 2022
2
Hi
Thanks for all the replies. The main reason I wanted a simple Virtual Breadboard was so I could practice for a couple of days while getting things right before showing Ollie what my next great gadget I've come up with. It's a bit cheesy I know but this is my way of not getting killed or blown up each week on PS4.

If it doesn't work out as planned then I'm sure there are other opportunities that will present themselves. electronic Lego perhaps. Time will tell.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
12,441
I suggest that in addition to the experimenting kit, which IS a good idea, also some text that explains ohms law and also the concept of a circuit.
I also suggest avoiding entirely that whole "nuts and Volts" mentality of following s cookbook recipe with no understanding at al of what a circuit does or how it works.
Understanding the principles will allow the grandson to create things successfully instead of depending on blind luck.
In addition, some basic understanding will tend to lead to wanting to know and understand more. And THAT is good for any young person..
 

k1ng 1337

Joined Sep 11, 2020
584
Yes, but this approach too early, may initiate an urge to follow modern technological trends without learning the nuts and bolts of electrical practice and theory.
I remember my early starts at ~8yrs, wiring up lighting circuits for the female members of the family that were gifted a Doll House.
This was before the transistor or the IC came popular !! o_O
Nobody knows the future and I certainly don't think a child should be limited by what their parents or whomever deems appropriate. For people of any age, kids especially, I refer to the analogies of 'planting seeds' / 'opening doors' by suggesting or showing something to a person and letting them decide if it's right for them without my own endorsement. If they bite, they bite.. Breadboards and microcontrollers are both good for the brain and much better than shooting people in the head! Plus some people like analog more than digital etc.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
12,441
I didn't get your point about virtual bread board.
Which "point"?? There have been quite a few comments about it. It is some sort of simulation software, and because they all require some sort of input there is certainly some effort needed to learn to use them. And like all simulators, the results will seldom be better than the inputs. It may only use perfect components, which can make it a lot simpler, but still it will need a circuit entry interface and certainly that will require a bit of learning. And certainly some user interfaces are much easier than others. Perhaps this one is simpler than others.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
4,805
Rosevet, you never said what your microphone module and Arduino, project needs to do.

You bought a Sound Sensor Module that produces a digital output (high or low) (at terminal DO?) when a sound level exceeds the setting of the trimpot. The module does not have an audio preamp on it. If its output (at terminal AO?) has audio then it is at a very low level that needs an audio preamp circuit to boost it.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,394
<snip>

In theory, you MAY be able to use it just to see if your design/ circuit works. But you likely will run into problems because the simulation software won’t know anything about your sound module. So it won’t be able to simulate it.

A “virtual breadboard” means a software simulator used in teaching electronics. Advanced simulators can be used to test out a design. But, it’s output is just a computer simulation. It’s not a working circuit. Virtual breadboard is a unique term. They are usually referred to as circuit simulators.
 
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